Jury deliberations will resume Monday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Los Angeles County man during a scuffle at a Desert Hot Springs apartment building.
La Von Albert Myers, 37, of Desert Hot Springs, is charged with murder in the June 26, 2012, shooting death of Ronald Locke of Whittier at an apartment in the 68000 block of Calle Azteca. The 46-year-old victim died the day he was shot, and Myers was arrested in connection with the shooting a few days after that, according to authorities.
Jurors started deliberating late Friday afternoon.
Locke went to the apartment complex with a female friend who wanted to confront another woman about a past incident in which the friend's niece was allegedly pepper-sprayed, according to Deputy District Attorney Sylvia Choi.
They went to Myers' girlfriend's apartment, where the woman allegedly involved in the pepper-spraying was, and Myers and his girlfriend told Locke and his friend to leave, according to Choi. The woman refused to leave and got into an argument with another man in the apartment, Choi told jurors in her opening statement Tuesday.
Myers went to his apartment, which was in the same complex, and got a gun, according to Choi. He again asked the woman to leave, but she refused and they began to struggle, with Myers landing punches, according to Choi. Locke, who had previously stepped outside, went to check on the woman, Choi said.
``He steps inside and says, `What is going on? Leave her alone, she's a woman,''' said Choi, who claimed that Locke wasn't armed. ``At that point the defendant points the gun at the victim and shoots.''
Myers shot Locke four times, including a shot in the back that reached his heart, Choi said.
``And all the victim did was get in there and say, `What are you doing? She's a woman,''' the prosecutor said.
Myers' attorney, James Goldstein, said Locke's friend wanted to ``even the score'' with the woman she thought was involved in the pepper spraying of her niece. She and Locke pushed their way into Myers' girlfriend's apartment, where the woman Locke's friend was seeking had locked herself in the bathroom, according to Goldstein,
``Mr. Locke says, `(Expletive), don't come out of the bathroom or I'm going to get you.' It's at that point the defendant walks/runs to his apartment, grabs his gun and starts to return,'' Goldstein said in his opening statement.
On his way back, Myers saw Locke outside, pointed the gun at him and asked him to leave, then asked Locke's friend to leave when he got back to his girlfriend's apartment, according to Goldstein.
``She says ... `What are you going to do, shoot a woman?' and at that point she charges the defendant.'' Goldstein said.
The woman knocked Myers against the wall; a few people, including Locke, joined in and there was a struggle for the gun, according to Goldstein. Myers got the gun and shot at Locke. Goldstein said ``every effort'' was made to get Locke and the woman to leave before the shooting happened.
``You're going to have to decide if one has the right to protect his family, friends, and protect his home,'' Goldstein told jurors.
Myers was being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the county jail in Indio.